What’s Worth Watching: Saying Goodbye to Parenthood

Parenthood Season 6
Parenthood Season 6

Parenthood, “May God Bless and Keep You Always” (Thursday, Jan. 31, 10/9c, NBC)

Are any of us brave enough to say farewell to the Bravermans without an armada of tissues at hand? Concluding an often emotional six-season run, the reliably tear-jerking family drama — a proud emblem of one of TV’s most endangered and under-represented genres — promises to let us know how things end up for each of the memorable branches of this sprawling, sometimes contentious and exasperating, but always endearing clan.

Fans have been experiencing separation anxiety all throughout this final season, and yet there is something satisfying about watching a beloved, if perennially low-rated, show go out on its own terms. For Parenthood, closure of this sort was never guaranteed, as it lived season by season “on the bubble,” always seeming on the verge of cancellation. But much like its fans, NBC stuck with the Bravermans through multiple personal, relationship and health crises. The finale, which deftly juggles a number of epiphanies and turning points for the show’s many characters, finds a way to balance poignancy with the incredible joys of family togetherness (not to be confused with HBO’s dreary new dramedy). We’ll miss the Bravermans, but as they’d be the first to tell you, life goes on. And what memories.